YOU DON'T NEED TO BE A RICH MAN TO FISH CABO TOURNAMENTS
Since you're reading this article, you probably have some level of interest in competitive fishing. You may have already tested your skills in a tournament. You may have just read about them and heard of the huge amounts of money being awarded and thought to yourself, I'd like to try that! Most likely, you're in the latter group... someone who would love to fish a tournament but think it's strictly a rich man's game, and you're not a rich man. Pochos Charters can show you the way to fish tournaments on a budget, and we're not just whistlin' Dixie. Pochos Charters won a total of $1,253,412 in cash awards for our tournament charter clients in just one 4 year stretch alone! (2005-2008)
It's true, competitive saltwater fishing tournaments can and do attract some of the biggest boats with some of the biggest names carrying some of the biggest wallets.
Come October, a flock of private jets take part in a southerly migration that brings them to Cabo San Lucas. From within those sleek and sexy birds appear some of the wealthiest people you're ever likely to meet. You'll see them on registration day plunking down piles of cash to enter "across the board" – often dropping $60,000 or more in entry fees and calcuttas (daily jackpots). You'll see them boarding multi-million dollar fishing yachts loaded with every electronic option created by man stocked with so much top-of-the-line gear you'd think it was a floating tackle shop. And each one of those boats has a crew to match. Toss in the fuel bill, dock fees, hotel rooms and such and the tab breaks into 6-figure territory real quick. Daunting stuff, no doubt.
So, how the heck does a 'regular' guy afford to do it, and, more importantly... how the heck do they think they have a chance of winning? Truth is, it's the 'regular' guy that's won more tournaments in Los Cabos than the high-roller.
HOW CAN I COMPETE EFFECTIVELY IN FISHING TOURNAMENTS
Well, if this was a exposé on the ins and outs of tournament fishing techniques, it would run for dozens of pages. For purposes of exploring just how you can enter competitions without breaking the bank, we'll focus our attention on how to enter events where your chances of taking home a check are not pipe-dreams but realistic endeavors.
First, pick tournaments that attract more 'regular' guy anglers. By that I mean enter events that provide reasonably priced entry fees and calcuttas and have historically shown that the 'regular' guy can win. Fortunately for you, the prospective tournament angler, Cabo has more than it's fair share of such events. Some of those are on the horizon with many landing in the months of October and November.... peak season for tournament angling in Southern Baja.
Second, take a hard look at tournaments where you and your team's skills offer you the greatest potential for rewards.
If you're a hard-core tuna fisherman, enter those events that have a dedicated tuna division that includes daily jackpots for that division. If you're an avid dorado angler, same thing. Look for events that award cash and prizes for that particular species. Most important, invest your money in divisions that give you the oppportunity to fish for species that you've always targeted and concentrate your efforts on that species.
MAKE THE MOST OF CALCUTTAS
Calcuttas are daily jackpots for the largest fish in each division, each day of the tournament. After paying your entry fee, you have the option of buying into a wide variety of calcuttas. Biggest tuna, biggest dorado, biggest wahoo, biggest billfish... they're all available. Nowadays, every tournament out there has some sort of minimum weight requirement.
In the world of calcuttas, if no qualfying fish is weighed in any given division on any given day, the jackpot money rolls over to the next day.
About the worst thing that can happen is that you entered some days, but not all. The first day comes and goes with no qualifier. The second day comes and goes with no qualifier. The last day comes and a couple of qualifiers come to the scales and you're fish is bigger than them all! But, you only entered day one and two.... you didn't enter all three and you just watched a check fly out of your hands along with your chance to stand in the winner's circle. Bottomline, if you enter calcuttas, it's better to enter one division across the board than to enter all divisions for a single day. Sure, you might get lucky and win on the one day, but in all reality, it happens so infrequently that luck is about all you've got going for you. Mix a little luck with skill and forethought and your odds of winning improves dramatically.
OKAY, SO WHICH TOURNAMENTS ARE BEST FOR THE 'REGULAR' GUY?
Well, that's a matter of opinion but one thing for sure, it's my article so my opinion matters most here. For me, there are three such events coming up soon and all three offer a chance at fame and fortune.
The Los Cabos Billfish Tournament
October 12th - 16th, 2010
Entry Fee - $5,000 per team of up to 6 anglers
Suggested Optional Daily Jackpot - $1,275 Tuna, Wahoo, Dorado (Others: daily marlin jackpots, winner takes all marlin jackpot and daily billfish release jackpot)
This one is put on by the municipalities of Los Cabos and the Bonnier Corporation, the folks that publish Marlin and Sport Fishing magazines. For the 'regular' guy, this one offers the chance to enter the event and the daily Tuna, Wahoo and Dorado Jackpot for $6,275. Divide that across a team of 6 and you're looking at an investment of $1,045 and change per man. Add in the cost of chartering a decent boat for three days and you'll be in the area of $1,500 per angler. That's less than the cost of a lot of multi-day trips on cattle boats and you've got yourself in position to possibly take home a significant check!
Bisbee's Los Cabos Offshore
October 15th - 17th, 2010
Entry Fee - $1,200
Suggested Optional Daily Jackpots - $4,400 (across the board entry in all jackpots)
Coming right on the heels of the Los Cabos Billfish Tournament, the Bisbee's Los Cabos Offshore, aka the 'little Bisbee's', offers up the chance to fish a big name event with a fairly low price tag.
Using the same 6 man team you're looking at an event that pays out over $300,000 each year that costs about $1,200 per team-member, and that includes estimated costs to charter a decent boat for the two days of competition. And, if you win, now you've got the money to enter the big one that follows.... the Bisbee's Black & Blue. The B & B holds the record for the largest single payout in tournament history... over $3.9 Million!!!
Western Outdoor News Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot
November 3rd - 6th, 2010
Entry Fee - $800
Suggested Optional Daily Jackpots - Example entry: $500 daily plus $1,000 Wahoo & Dorado (additional options include jackpots from $1,000 to $10,000)
Okay, you've found my favorite, the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot. This is the most widely attended tournament in Cabo, year after year, and the reason is that it offers entry points with dailies for just about anyone who wants to test their skill and luck.
Pay your base entry fee and sweeten the pot by also entering the $500 daily (two days at $250 per) and the $1,000 Wahoo & Dorado Jackpot. Your total entry would run $2300. Add in about $800 a day for a decent charter boat and you're in the game for a total of $3,900 split between four anglers (the team limit). That's less than a grand per angler, not too shabby.
The other thing I like about this event is that the organizers do a terrific job of negotiating great deals for participants and their guests. For example, you can package up a rental car and hotel room for about $100 a day. For less than $70 you get a room for two at a marina front hotel. Toss in nightly parties, $150,000 in prize drawings and over $500,000 in cash awards to winning teams and you have one hell of an experience... with a chance at adding a chunk of change to your fishing savings account!
If you're interested in entering a Cabo fishing tournament, Pochos Charters can help you. Our fleet of boats is ready to meet the challenge at prices you can afford. Lines in!!
CABO TOURNAMENT PHOTOS
POCHOS AT THE 2008 BISBEE'S BLACK & BLUE Team "Bad Market" with their 457lb Blue Marlin. The team took a 1st Place check for $516,475 plus daily jackpots and Top Captain for a total of $660,475 in prize money.
POCHOS AT THE 2008 BISBEE'S OFFSHORE Angler Richard Hochrein of Yakima, Washington led team "Outcast" to a 56.8lb 1st Place Dorado win and a check for $50,970 taking the day two Dorado jackpot as well.
POCHOS AT THE 2007 LOS CABOS BILLFISH Angler Judy Campbell proves that you don't need to be a big man to take a winning fish with this nice 566lb Blue and a check for $134,000.
POCHOS AT THE 2006 BISBEE'S OFFSHORE Team "Outcast" with Captain Jesus Romero at the helm managed to get in the money with this nice 54.8lb Dorado earning the team a $10,752 check.
POCHOS AT THE 2005 BISBEE'S BLACK & BLUE Team "Bad Market" takes 4th Place overall with a 319lb Blue Marlin earning the team a check for $397,215.